tv Democracy Now LINKTV May 5, 2014 8:00am-9:01am PDT
05/05/14 05/05/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! yes, i had a black hood on my head in my hands were tied upward and a remain in this state for long hours. i had medical issues in my stomach. but all of this was of no consequences to the guards in the prison. on the contrary, they were laughing. >> 10 years after the first
publication of photos from inside abu ghraib, we speak with al jazeera journalist salah hassan who
was held by u.s. forces inside the iraqi prison. to date, no high-ranking official has been held accountable for the torture at abu ghraib. salah hassan and other prisoners are attempting to see one of the private companies, caci, which helps run the prison will stop then, condoleezza rice is back in the news. >> there'll always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons, but we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. >> this was president bush's former national security advisor condoleezza rice in 2002. this weekend, rice backed out of delivering the commencement address at rutgers university in new jersey following protests over her role in supporting the iraq war and u.s. torture
practices. we will speak with student protest leader carmelo cintron. all of that and
more coming up. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the obama administration has launched a review of execution procedures following last weeks botched killing of a death row prisoner in oklahoma. clayton lockett died of a heart attack warty three minutes after he was injected with untested chemicals in his growing. -- groin. prison officials had called off the execution after he remained conscious and convulsed on the gurney. president obama called the botched execution deeply disturbing and said it raises difficult and profound questions. >> in the application of the death penalty in this country, we have seen significant , and evenracial bias
application of the death penalty -- uneven application of the death penalty. there were situations or individuals on death row later on were discovered to have been innocent because of exculpatory evidence. in all of these, i think it raises significant questions about how the death penalty is being applied. i will be discussing with eric , you know, toers get me an analysis of what steps have been taken, not just in this particular instance, but more broadly in this area. i think we do have to, as a society, ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions. >> the justice department review will focus turkey on the federal protocol for how executions are carried out, not the issues of race and wrongful convictions that president obama mentioned.
on friday, a spokesperson for the u.n. high commissioner for human rights said lockett's death may have violated international law barring cruel, inhumane, integrating treatment. the u.n. has called on u.s. to impose nationwide moratorium on the death penalty and work "for abolition of this cruel and inhuman practice." deadliests seen its violence in months after the conflict between nationalist and malicious prejudice of import city of odessa. at least 46 people died on friday in a massive blaze erupted at a base for the two sides were fighting. on sunday, pro-russian separatist attack in odessa police station, freeing hundreds of prisoners. the ukraine government has vowed to intensify its campaign against the separatists. seven observers with the
organization for security and cooperation in europe were freed on saturday after over a week in captivity by pro-russian forces. a german newspaper is reporting dozens of u.s. intelligence theialist are devising ukrainian government. citing unnamed german sources, the paper says cia and fbi officials are in kiev advising on how to end the rebellion in the east and fight organized crime. are fearedf people dead after a massive landslide in afghanistan. a mountain in northeastern province collapsed on friday, during the village underneath. at least 500 people have been confirmed dead and over 2000 or missing. it was one of afghanistan's worst natural disasters in years. iraq has cap its bloodiest month so far this year. the united nations has at least 750 iraqis were killed in april, more than 600 of them civilians. a rectal nationwide procedure elections last week.
at least 30 people were killed in violence over a 24-hour period this week. the nigerian president goodluck jonathan says he's asked for international help toward schoolgirls200 76 kidnapped last month. the militant islamist group is suspected of adopting -- abducting the girls during the night raid on a northeastern hostel. jonathan and president obama have spoken by phone to discuss the crisis. over the weekend, he held his first meeting with the major groups involved, including outraged parents, following criticism of the lackluster government response. in a televised interview with the panel of journalists, jonathan pledged to win the girls release. >> one good thing that may is there is no story that any of them have been hurt or injured.
express my empathy to the in the and relatives guidance of these girls. held aroundere also the world this week and a call for the girls release. a group of nigerian ex-pats l he saturday and washington, d.c. >> pressure. we have to keep making noise. we have to keep making sure that the nigerian government knows everybody is watching. you cannot just sit by idly while this happens your kids. everybody is watching. do something. >> the president of the republic of nigeria has the military of the country and financial resources at his disposal, and he could make things happen if he wants to. reports are unverified
the girls have been sold off, forced to marry their abductors, and taken across the border to chad or cameroon. earlier today, a leader accuse the government of arresting her. in ireland, please have released gerry adams without charge after four days of questioning over his suspected role in the 1972 murder. adams was taken into custody last week as part of an investigation into the killing of jean mcconville alleged members of the irish republican army. the mother of 10 children, she was wrongly accused of the time of being a british informant. new evidence implicating adams apparently emerged in recordings conducted for an oral history project by students at boston college. at a news conference upon his release, adams professed his innocence. no involvement to abduct, kill, or barry mrs. mcconville. i have worked with others to have this addressed.
i will continue to do so. but he is faced repeated allegations of ties to the iras political murders, charges he is long denied. a gunman in arkansas has killed three people and wounded four others before taking his own life. the victims included a 12-year-old girl who died in it to -- and two children who were wanted. -- shooter has been released had been released from a mental health facility just days before. president obama hosted german chancellor angela merkel at the white house on friday and its continued differences over nsa spying. leaks by whistleblower edward snowden show the nsa tapped angela merkel's mobilephone in addition to monitoring other german leaders. at a news conference, merkel said gaps remain between the two sides and that it is too soon to return to business as usual. obama acknowledged the stone revelations have strained
u.s.-german ties. >> it is paying me to see to the degree of which the snowden disclosures have created strains in the relationship will stop but more broadly, i have also been convinced for a very long for that it is important our legal structures in our policy structures to catch up with rapidly advancing technologies. we are committed to u.s.-german cyber dialogue to close further the gaps that made this in terms of how we operate, how german intelligence operates, to make sure there is transparency and clarity about what we're doing and what our goals and intentions are. >> negotiations between the u.s. and germany recently broke down after the obama administration refused to offer blanket pledge to refrain from all an authorized spying on german
soil. then on to the white house, merkel's government has advised the german parliament not to invite testimony from snowden over the spying revelations. a report from the german foreign ministry warns snowden's appearance could further strain ties and potentially bring u.s. charges against german lawmakers for helping snowden publicize the supplied information. there is new speculation the obama administration will shift its deportation policy following an offhand remark by vice president joe biden. at a speech in miami on saturday, lightning kurds to group of college students to change -- challenge authority of political orthodoxies. when he mentioned the plight of immigrants, an audience member coming to biden's advice and yelled out for the obama administration to stop its recordkeeper tatian of undocumented immigrants. >> it is stamped into the dna of america from grade school on we are encouraged to challenge
basic assumptions. no child is criticized [indiscernible] from our founding fathers on, that has been the case over the last 200 years. the immigrant community represents something special we never talk about -- >> [inaudible] >> we will do that, too, kid, but let me finish my speech. >> the obama administration is in the midst of reviewing its deportation policy. last week, three sheriffs in colorado joined a growing list of local authorities that will no longer automatically obey federal request to hold undocumented immigrants for deportation. house republicans have announced a new congressional inquiry into the deadly attack on u.s. diplomatic post in benghazi. john majority leader boehner says he will form a select committee following the release of a new white house e-mail discussing the
administration's public talking points. u.s. ambassador christopher stephens and three other americans were killed in september 2012 when militants stormed the compound. republicans have accused the obama administration of covering up a security failure while democrats have accused republicans of hiking a nonissue. former secretary of state condoleezza rice has canceled an appearance at rutgers university following a wave of campus protest. $35,000 to receive reduce liver the graduation commencement address later this month but rutgers students occupied campus building calling for the invitation to be withdrawn over rice's role in the iraq war and bush administration torture. in a statement, rice said her parents has become a distraction. we will have more on the story later in the broadcast. gathered in front of the white house on sunday to stage a reenactment of a wedding in yemen attacked by u.s. drones. 12 civilians died when u.s. their wedding
reception in december. the killing sparked a ban on u.s. military drone strikes in yemen, but they continue under the cia. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. it was 10 years ago last week when cbs news first broadcast photographs of american soldiers and contractors torturing and sexually humiliating prisoners in iraq. "the new yorker" soon published a story on its website called "torture at abu ghraib," by seymour hersh. one showed a hooded iraqi man standing on a box with his electrical wires attached to his outstretched arms. another showed a u.s. soldier holding a leash attached to the neck of a naked prisoner. another photo showed a u.s. soldier giving the thumbs up while posing next to the body of a dead prisoner. at the time, the bush administration condemned the abuse as the work of a few bad
apples. a few low ranking soldiers were sentenced to prison, but none of the contractors involved with running the prison were prosecuted. no high-ranking military official was held responsible and reparations were never paid to the iraqi prisoners. today we bring you the story of one former prisoner. inah hassan was detained november 2003 while working as a journalist for al jazeera in iraq. he is now a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the center for constitutional rights against the private contractor caci international, known by many simply as caci. according to the lawsuit, employees of caci working it abu ghraib allegedly threatened salah hassan with dogs, deprived him of food, beat him, and kept him naked in a solitary cell in conditions of sensory deprivation. i spoke to salah hassan last week. he was in doha, qatar where he
still works for al jazeera. i began by asking about when he was first arrested. first, i would like to thank you for giving me the chance to meet with you and discuss an issue that is 10 years old. of course, the place where i was arrested was the district north of baghdad, about 10 years ago. this was the first place of arrest. after that, i was moved from one place to another until ended up in abu ghraib prison. >> can you explain who arrested you? and then describe what happened you at abu ghraib. >> actually, the people who arrested me in the district are from the american army, but i cannot really differentiate if there truly individuals from the army or from private security companies because most people there used to where military outfits and without military ranking and cigna that might have verified their affiliation
to the army or other institutions. >> where were you arrested? can you talk about what you were doing at that time and even before you made it to abu ghraib , where you were taken? >> of course. this is the main point of this issue. the issue is that i am a journalist and i was at my work place covering the events in the district north of baghdad. events inuty to cover the field and on the ground, as well as political events. so my arrest happened while i was doing my journalistic duty. there was an explosion in that area. i went to that place to try to take some photographs and gather information about this incident. after a was done with all of this work, i was surprised by the man in a military uniform ordered my arrest.
after that, i was moved from one station to another. the first of these stations was in the same district, then it was moved to another airport that is used as a military base -- also in the same district. then i was moved to a helicopter a loan to another district, which is located north of dial it district. of course, i was kept in each of the stations for a day or two and from the last nation, i was moved to abu ghraib prison. >> were you injured in this time by those who had captured you? frome helicopter moved me by militaryu ghraib trucks. i was subjected to a lot of hurt and harm during this time. he moved from station to station -- being moved from station to station.
the simplest thing was being very tightly handcuffed and having my legs restrained with metal iron chains. they also left me in tiny rooms with tofu or water. they also verbally abused me throughout my containment in all of the stations. >> did they understand, salah hassan, that you were a journalist with al jazeera? >> of course they know i'm a .ournalist with al jazeera i could not have worked in the district without getting permission from the american forces that were present in the district. there was immediate office that provided this -- that we provide the names of the crew. the office gave a special permit cards for media coverage, so they do know me well. i had previously worked with them and have previously gone to this media office more than once. it was an officer in the american forces [indiscernible]
consequently, i was not at all a stranger to them. >> salah hassan, describe what happened when he first came to abu ghraib. many inetails are reality. i cannot summarize it or limited to a few short minutes. but for me as a journalist, this was a huge shock. i did not expect it at all but a journalist would be treated in this manner. i have many friends from america, and i know the american society does not allow or except he's kinds of behavior -- accept these kinds of behavior. happened in, what abu ghraib was very difficult and extremely big shock. as soon as i arrived to the prison, they ordered me to strip of all my clothing. in our society, taking off the close in our
culture is a difficult issue, which people of this area cannot bear. this is an issue related to honor and family and community values. this was the first issue that i was subjected to in abu ghraib prison. a remained without clothing from 5:00 him until 5:00 a.m. of the following day. >> was a good place or plastic bag placed over your head? >> yes, i had a black hood on my head and my hands were tied upward and a remained in the state for long hours. i had medical issues in my stomach. some excretion was going out of my mouth and voluntarily and falling to the ground. but all of this was of no consequence to the guards. they were laughing and even at midnight or after midnight, i heard some people saying in english, of course, happy birthday, al jazeera. the message is clear, you're
with al jazeera, so you will celebrate your birthday here -- or something of this kind. >> were you forced, salah hassan , to stand for many hours at a time ,hooded and naked? >> of course. i was helpless and could not object or not comply because a military man. they had more power than me. they forced me. at the beginning and asked me to take off my clothes, i refused and told them i will not take my clothes off. they said to me, you either take them off your self or we will take them off for you. then i realized they are serious. so i started taking off some pieces like my pants and shirt. but they insisted that i strip completely. i told them it is impossible and i cannot take off all my clothes. they said, you either take them off or we will. so i had to take off all my clothes.
i put my hand to cover my genitals, very embarrassed. these were very difficult moments will stop i transformed in a second from a journalist on the ground who has social status and people look at me in a certain way, i have my familial and social values and status, to a humiliated person stripped down forcefully, very naked, helpless. this was a huge shock in these moments. these were the first hours of getting into the abu ghraib prison. of course, they're more details from the following days. >> the secretary of defense donald rumsfeld famously said in a memo when the description of people being held for hours at a time standing, that he stands at his desk for 11 hours and doesn't call that torture. could you respond to this, salah hassan?
well, i can stay standing in the street for a whole day on my own volition. there is no problem there. but when i am forced to stand in this humiliating manner without clothing, hooded and handcuffed, i believe this is a different situation. it is very different. >> that was salah hassan, announces their journalist who was jailed at the abu ghraib prison in iraq. when we come back, we will hear about howlah talking he was psychologically and physically tortured come and speak with the center for constitutional rights about the concert -- about her lawsuit against caci international. we will be back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. it was 10 years ago last week when the world first few the shocking photos of u.s. military personnel humiliating and torturing iraqi prisoners at abu ghraib. we return now to our interview with salah hassan, an al jazeera journalist who was jailed at abu ghraib. i spoke to him on the 10th anniversary of the release of the photographs at his offices, his studio, in doha, qatar where al jazeera is based. i asked him where he was held that abu ghraib and who was holding him there. in the abu ghraib prison, there were solitary cells, probably not more than 50 or 60 cells. when i arrived at abu ghraib, i stayed for one day at the outdoor tent. then after a very brief, simple interrogation, they transferred me to one of the solitary cells.
seeourse, i was not able to from my cell, the other people in their cells, but i knew there other detainees, some of them arrested on charges of terrorism, some accused of civil charges. there were many. >> did you encounter dogs? throughout my detainment in the solitary cells, there was interrogation every two or three days. during these interrogations, we were subjected to many psychological and physical torture methods. one of these methods was we were kept naked, handcuffed with a hood on your head. then they would bring big dogs. barkingld a panting and of the dogs for a closed your face. this is one of the methods of torture in interrogation they conducted. there are many other similar cases. >> how long were you help like this? -- held like this?
interrogations that happened every two or three days would last for an hour, an hour and a half or two hours in this manner. the details of the interrogations were different. in some cases, they would bring dogs didn't start the interrogation. in other cases, they put you in a place and pour cold water or hot tea on human and start the interrogation. all of the interrogations were conducted while you're kept naked and hooded and they would ask you questions to get you to answer. i stayed for 40 days in a solitary cell. 70% of that time, i was kept naked. >> what kind of questions did your interrogators ask you, and who were your interrogators? as for the interrogators, i did not know who they were. i was hooded throughout the interrogation, so i cannot identify who they were.
were they american army personnel? were they from outside the army? were they affiliate with security companies? i knew later that security companies were involved in these interrogations, but at the moment, i was not able to identify the affiliation of the interrogators to this or that side. as for the questions i was asked, most of them are questions related to al jazeera and the details about al jazeera channel, details about my life. some examples of these questions were, will you go back to work for al jazeera when you get out of here? do you like working for al jazeera? why do you like working for al jazeera? but they did not directly charge me with any specific accusation while i stayed in his prison. >> howery released copper salah hassan? how long were you held and how did you get out? >> they help me for two months. i stayed seven or eight days before abu ghraib and the other
then abu ghraib. estate about seven days before abu ghraib and the remaining days at abu ghraib. at the end, i was not accused of anything. he transferred me to a court. the court was formed by the iraqi government at the time. the coalition authority was present throughout the procedure. the judge found were no churches against me so he ordered my release and i left. >> salah hassan, this is the 10th anniversary of the release of the photos. did you recognize anyone in those photos? when did you first see these pictures? after i was released from abu ghraib prison, i wrote a complete report about what happened to me in the present and about my observation while
inside the prison about psychological and physical torture, and the stripping. then many people did not believe these observations. they did not believe inside the prison such things are happening . they did not believe these details at all. but after the photographs showed up in the scandal that happened in abu ghraib prison broke out, many told me, you are right in your descriptions in your details are true. many photos were of people i knew or saw at abu ghraib prison. the famous photo of the woman in the military uniform holding a rope tied around the neck of one of the detainees, i knew that .etainee and used to hear him another photos, did not recognize the mall. i have witnessed similar situations that other detainees were subjected to. when the photos showed up and the scandal broke, i saw the photos and remember the details and all the pain that i endured in abu ghraib. >> salah hassan, what effect has
this had on you? it is 10 years later. your captivity. often when i'm asked this question, i cannot control myself. a member in all of the bad memories and images clearly. i remember all the details that happen then as if they happened just now. it is difficult for me to forget all of these details. it is difficult to overcome all these details easily. their affect is huge. their affect on me personally, my family, on the community where i live will stop there are many people whom after i got out and after the scandal broke out, ask me if any of those things happened to me. this was very embarrassing and disconcerting to me. i avoided talking to people about this issue.
truly, i have not talked about these details until after many years have passed. after some friends convinced me to share these memories to unload the burden that those details cast on the, and to get rid of some of the pain inside. truly, they had a big effect on me that i will never be able to forget. >> can you talk about your lawsuit and what you're hoping to accomplish with it? truly, i believe a lot in the justice of the mirkin judiciary system so i was hoping the lawsuit would be positive or at least make a change or clarify to the american public what was happening in abu ghraib prison in detail. lawsuit reached a certain stage, and then stopped. but then in the appeal was filed. you're waiting for at least an acknowledgment and recognition is the lawsuit reaches the supreme court or the courthouse
and it was ruled that what happened was wrong. this will be a huge deal for me as at least in the knowledge meant that will restore justice and affirm that we are innocent. least, i speak about myself. i'm a journalist and i'm innocent and i committed no wrong or crime. i believe that american law will do me justice. >> did you remain a journalist with al jazeera? the u.s. government, the defense secretary donald rumsfeld, said or called al jazeera a terrorist network. it was showing the images of war in iraq. your thoughts about that, being a journalist that the american soldiers knew from the beginning , what this meant for journalism?
>> truly, when i was released from abu ghraib prison, i resumed my work in journalism and with al jazeera. until now, i worked with al jazeera and have covered many regions in africa, asia, and many other countries will stop i did not stop my journalistic work at all. i consider my profession i see miniature in one that shows facts and truth everywhere, whether it is iraq or elsewhere. al jazeera work in iraq was probably different from other stations and channels because it dealt -- delved the details of the issues that were related and of importance to the iraqi people, and joe details that other stations might have been afraid to show. this might have annoyed some parties, so they were not happy with the performance of al jazeera in iraq because it showed many photos and details. how people were killed, how was conducted.
it showed problems the security companies cost. all of this was not satisfaction of the other side. so they accused al jazeera of not being neutral. on the contrary, al jazeera is objective and works diligently to broadcast truth everywhere. and nothing will stop it. you can see many journalists of al jazeera are harmed because of their affiliation, but this works days a humanitarian profession and trying to show the truth. i am continuing on this path. >> what is your message to the american people on this 10th anniversary of the release of the abu ghraib photos? >> first, as i said, i have many american friends and i deeply believe the american people are good people that do not approve of such breaches. i visited the united states and
that many people there. i observed how they treat each other. i observed how democracy functions in the u.s. truly, it is amazing and beautiful. what happened in abu ghraib prison was very different. it is not the image present in the u.s.. i think the american people know the truth now, so they should side with those who were harmed in abu ghraib prison, at least those who were harmed should obtain some acknowledgment in their lawsuit and that what happened to us in abu ghraib was not supposed to happen. as a journalist, i think many people realize my case was an unfair case in abu ghraib. i did not commit any crime. i did not commit any professional mistake. what happened to me in abu ghraib was very harmful to me and to journalism around the world. >> salah hassan, thank you so much for joining us. i know this was very difficult as you relive this.
thank you for taking the time. >> it is good i controlled myself and did not burst into tears. think you. >> salah hassan, jailed at the abu ghraib prison in iraq. spoke to us from doha, qatar where he continues to work with judges her. thank you for our translators. for more we're joined by his , legaly baher azmy director of the center for constitutional rights and lead counsel for thehe plaintiffs in the abu ghraib lawsuit. explain this lawsuit that you have. >> in 2004 after military investigative reports revealed the role of private military contractors in the atrocities in abu ghraib, with other lawyers,
we brought three lawsuits. they were brought against two sets of private military on tractors. one on behalf of 256 victims from it which was dismissed by court of appeals in washington, and the second one against the services that l3 provided translation services to the u.s. military that was brought in maryland and was not settled on behalf of 71. in this last lawsuit on behalf of of salah hassan and three other victims of torture at the abu ghraib hard site against the private military contractor called caci international, which provided interrogation services for the u.s. government. and the allegations there, which are based on our own investigation and military investigators, is that caci employees played a central role in the torture and abuse in abu
ghraib by ordering low-level military employees to soften up detainees for eventual interrogation by caci please. this lawsuit seeks to hold the corporate entity of caci responsible for the action of it employees. >> i want to turn to the kiobel case. in 2012, the supreme court heard oral arguments on whether corporations can be sued in u.s. courts for human rights abuses committed overseas. that case is called kiobel versus royal dutch petroleum. we spoke to the legal director of earthrights international who explained the case's significance. >> this case is really about whether a corporation that participate in serious human rights abuses such as crimes against humanity or genocide or state-sponsored torture can profit from those abuses and shield those profits from the
victims when the victims come to take them to court. essentially, about whether corporations are immune from any kind of liability for serious human rights abuses worldwide. and that is what the court of appeals held in this case. they said under no circumstances can a corporation ever be sued for the most serious human rights violations today. >> that as marco simons, talking about kiobel versus royal dutch petroleum. he is a legal director of earthrights. can you talk about the significance of this case? appeared to present the possibility that corporations would be immune from liability under this alien tort statute. the court pivoted a little bit and instead limited the alien tort statute in a different way by suggesting when all of the aspects of the legal claim occur
abroad, courts should not hear those cases. kiobel had a nigerian plaintiff, british and dutch corporations, who alleged there were crimes against humanity and torture committed in nigeria. so there were no connections to the united states. in our case, the district court, nevertheless, dismissed our case on a kind of formalistic reading of the kiobel decision. but our position in the court of appeals, which recently heard our appeal, is that the supreme court recognized that when there are connections to the united states, such as here we have a u.s. corporation internet contract with the u.s. government, and conspired with u.s. military personnel and u.s. -run prison, the connection to the united states are so strong that u.s. courts have to provide a remedy to form nationals for international violations. >> donald rumsfeld claimed he first learned of the extent of the abu ghraib abuse after the
photographs were made public. this is what he told congress after the scandal broke in may of 2004. >> it breaks our hearts that in fact someone didn't say, wait, look, this is terrible and we need to do something to manage the legal part of this proceeding along fine. what wasn't proceeding along fine is the fact the president did not know and you did not know and i didn't know. as a result, somebody just sent a secret report to the press and there they are. but that is former secretary of defense donald rumsfeld. held cannibal for what happened? >> just a few low level employees lik who were court-martialed for their role in abu ghraib, but no high-level officials. the suit seeks to hold responsible the corporate entities that conspired with
those who were court-martialed and ordered them to undertake the abuse in some cases. that is a very important feature of this story, the legacy of abu ghraib. treatments salah's compared to others your representing in this lawsuit? >> is representative. all of them and word forced nudity. a number of others also endured electric shocks and sleep deprivation and all forms of sexual humiliation, attack by guards, physical abuse, whole range of serious mistreatment. >> i want to ask you more about the role of caci international. first, i want to go to a clip of the groups, of the companies,
promotional video. >> character. the unique set of moral and ethical qualities that defines who we are. caci is built on the foundation of character. for 50 years, our defense, homeland security, intelligence, federal civilian customers have depended on caci for world leading information solutions. they count on us for our character. honesty full stop integrity. commitment. respect. character, defined to we are. >> that is an ad from caci. baher azmy? >> i don't have any specific information upon which they've based their claims for ethical behavior. i think the future of character and ethical behavior would be taking responsibility for the conduct of its employees in abu ghraib. >> and what exactly did they do? >> so one other data point we have about caci is, after they
successfully dismissed the lawsuit in the trial court, they sought to impose costs against our four torture victims. so given the massive economic disparity of multibillion dollar corporation on one hand, and four torture victims -- three of whom are clearly indigent -- that suggest the purpose was simply to determine and intimidate our plaintiffs and other human rights victims from seeking accountability to u.s. courts. >> i want to go to pulitzer prize-winning journalist seymour hersh. in 2004, he broke the story about the abuse and torture prisoners at abu ghraib and in 2010, he revealed u.s. forces are turning out battlefield executions of prisoners in afghanistan. this is seymour hersh speaking during a discussion of the global investigative journalism conference in geneva. >> and the purpose of my story was to take it out of the field
and to the white house, where it is not that the president or the secretary of defense mr. rumsfeld or bush or cheney, it is not that they knew what happened in abu ghraib, but that they had allow this kind of activity to happen. i will tell you right now, one of the great tragedies of my country is that esther obama is looking -- mr. obama is looking the other way while equally horrible things are happening to prisoners -- of those we capture in afghanistan. they're being executed in the battlefield. it is unbelievable stuff going on there that doesn't necessarily get reported. things don't change. quick that was pulitzer prize-winning journalist who exposed the massacre in vietnam, seymour hersh. he went on to expose these photographs of abu ghraib and last week was the 10 week anniversary of that exposé. >> it brings up an important point in even about the current administration which is lack of accountability across the board for serious human rights
violations by current administration officials and former administration officials in abu ghraib and honda harder centers foretention the cellular of the obama administration to seek any kind of meaningful accountability, criminal or civil, i think is a deep stain and critical mistake legacy.'s agassiz -- >> what makes you think your case can move forward since it was dismissed by a lower court? >> we recently in a court of appeals heard our appeal in richmond, virginia, and i think the fact that there were such strong u.s. connections to the torture here and because the core purpose of the human rights statute rely on the alien tort statute is to provide a remedy when u.s. objects commit international law violations, we are hopeful that the court of
appeals will reinstate the case. >> an issue of the prisoners having to pay the defense costs? >> that is also on appeal and we are hopeful that we'll get reversed as well when the court reinstates the case. >> if it didn't get reversed, what happens? how do these men who were formally imprisoned that abu ghraib pay caci? >> they likely can't pay caci. they don't have that kind of money. it remains to be seen what caci would want to do. i think their goal here is to send a signal to other people that not only will we not claim responsibility for allegedly unlawful behavior, we're going to impose costs on you try to hold us accountable. >> baher azmy, thank you for being here to talk about this case, legal director of the center for constitutional counsel for the
plaintiffs in the abu ghraib lawsuit. only come back, we'll talk about the issue of accountability and the iraq war with protest leader at rutgers university. condoleezza rice has just backed out of giving the graduation address at rutgers because of the protests that took place. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
former secretary of state condoleezza rice has withdrawn as commencement speaker at rutgers university following protests by faculty and students over her role in the 2003 u.s. andsion of iraq will stop u.s. interrogation policy. the rutgers board of governors picked the former high-ranking bush official in february. rutgers faculty annually circulated a petition decrying the role rice played in -- 2002, speaking to cnn, then national security buys her condoleezza rice uttered these famous words, explaining the threat resented by saddam hussein. >> are always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. >> in a statement posted on her official facebook page on saturday, condoleezza rice said --
rutgers president had refused to disinvite rice after the protest and organized sit ins at the university. to talk more about the protest, how it came to be known as the no rice campaign, we're joined by carmelo cintron vivas, a senior at rutgers university, one of the organizers of the protest and was involved in every direct action that the university students staged. and still with us, baher azmy. welcome to democracy now! your response to condoleezza rice withdrawn from the commencement address? >> first of all, thank you for having the and covering as. i think that from a speaking for andgroup, we are very happy pleased when we heard the news that condoleezza rice herself decided to back out. we think that might be an even more powerful statement than the
university this inviting her and we are proud are direct actions and are pressure were felt in our voices were heard from the bottom up. >> why did you oppose her speaking at commencement? >> as a group of students, and i'm referring to students protesting, we felt were criminals should not be honored by our university. someone who has such a tainted record as a public servant in this country should not go to our university and speak for 15 minutes, get an honorary law received $35,000. we believe it is wrongful and not fair to any student graduating or not graduating that rutgers. >> what did you do and how widespread was the opposition? >> first of all, it was very small. it started about two weeks ago. it was maybe -- the actions -- maybe three or four people. all of a sudden, it was our
chance to start creating direct actions. we called for a rally and sit in on monday. people, enough participated. we staged a sit in at the president's office. it grew exponentially and continues to grow. we are still working. we are educating and making sure everyone knows why we protested this. >> what was the process for her being selected? who chose her? >> that is something the board of governors and the president have not been clear about. the process is normally one where there is a 20-percent committee and they make different suggestions and vet different candidates. admittedly, that process was changed when the president first command office and that 20-percent committee came down to two people. after that is blurry. the most information we have from the whole process is an e-mail exchange between that wet persons
acquired through the open public records act. there've not really said anything. we have just been undigging the mystery of how she was invited. intot me bring baher azmy this conversation. you have long been dealing with bush ministration officials around the issue of accountability. the significance of condoleezza rice in the war with iraq as both national security advisor and secretary of state? >> she was critical and promotion of the lies that led up to the war and the selling of the war to the american people. i want to congratulate carmelo and his colleagues. it is so heartening this generation is reminded and thinking about the crimes of the bush ministration officials, not letting them get away with the sort of gauzy histories about what happened from 2001-2008.
i get discouraged when the younger generation thinks things like war is normal work guantanamo is normal or indefinite detention is normal. this is an important step i this group. >> humala, the argument of university, the issue of free speech and other issues that they put forward? >> we have been receiving since the beginning our main backlash him if we could say, is that well, she is a minority, it is a woman, why are you protesting this? she has free speech. those are valid questions, but you have to go beyond that. you have to go beyond reducing a person to their race or gender and looking into their actions. because i'm a minority -- i am puerto rican and have only been in new york state for 2.5 years, but that doesn't mean i'm not held the same standards as anyone else and i can wreck
along whenever i want to. to herour response academic achievements outweigh her political positions? >> that is ludicrous. if we look into a lot of criminals and would look into a lot of international criminals and just bad people in history, a lot of them have great academic careers or great medical careers -- your career is one thing, and the way you act as a person as a human being is another. >> we will leave it there. thank you very much for being with us, carmelo cintron vivas, media spokesperson for the no rice campaign and a senior at rutgers university who will be graduating and won't be hearing the commencement address of condoleezza rice because she has withdrawn from giving that address as a result of the protes
>> coming up on "california country," meet some of the folks responsible for adding a little zest to our lives. then, what a chef wants, this man will find. tag along with us as we go on a produce pursuit in northern california. then, meet a farmer who is surrounded by his favorite things--his berries and his brothers. finally, think starting a vegetable garden is hard? our expert has advice to get you started and on your way to a homegrown meal in no time. it's all ahead, and it starts now. [captioning made possible by california farm bureau